Ancient Maya lessons at Chaa Creek, Belize
MONDAY July 25, 2011 – Nothing sets the mood of the day better than an early morning hike and that’s exactly what the eco campers did today as they trekked to learn about the ancient Maya that once inhabited the area that now makes Chaa Creek.
Everyone left the Macal River Camp grounds at 8AM and headed to Tun Chilen, the largest on-site Maya temple at Chaa Creek and even though most of it is covered by dirt and foliage, the temple structures are obvious.
Joe Awe, one of Chaa Creek’s senior guides asked the kids if anyone had previously visited an excavated Maya site such as the nearby Xunantunich or Cahal Pech, and almost everyone responded with a yes. “Well something similar is underneath here, this is where your imagination will come in handy,” said Joe.
The entire area of Chaa Creek is said to once been a satellite city of Xunatunich, Tun Chilen is also called the “Look Out’ since you can see directly to El Castillo – which is Xunantunich’s highest temple.
The most important lesson of the day was that education and taking care of the environment is crucial, the ancient Maya leaders used their literacy to control the masses and their civilization flourished for a while. Only the leaders were educated and with this power, they were able to predict the rain patterns and the peasants thought they were living Gods. The Maya were incredibly smart but they weren’t good environmentalist, because of overpopulation, they cleared most of the trees to plant crops and in the end this caused an immense drought. The Maya leaders could no longer please the crowds and everyone lost faith, the leaders then abandoned the temples and since the masses had no literacy and couldn’t manage the sites – there was turmoil!
Joe Awe told the kids to add the book, Lord of the Flies to their summer reading list, to an extent, similar depicted chaos was one of the causes of the ancient Maya’s demise.
After the tour, the children went to Chaa Creek’s Mariposa restaurant where a delicious lunch was waiting for them. Then it was canoeing time for the rest of the afternoon, dinner and camp fire activities.
Here are some candid photographs of the happy eco campers and councilors.
Tomorrow’s theme of the day is Traditional Healing.
To read yesterday’s story, click here: Eco Kids learn about Belize’s Biodiversity and Conservation
Or check out what happened on the first day: Chaa Creek’s Eco Kids Camp 2011 commences